Pud Thai

Ingredients
Pad Thai

1/2 packet pud thai rice noodles
1 zucchini
Handful of beans
one small onion
2 carrots
2 tablespoons oil
2 egg
½ cup peanuts, chopped
5 spring onions, chopped into 3cm pieces
½ cup chopped fresh herbs like cilantro and basil
Sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili paste (sambal oelek)

Method
1. Place the uncooked noodles in a bowl of cold water to soak.
2. Cut or spiralise the zucchini and onion into noodle-like shapes. Cut the carrots and beans into very small pieces.
3. Shake up the sauce ingredients in a jar.
4. Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Add the veggies and stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until tender-crisp. Be careful not to overcook them. Transfer to a dish and set aside.
5. Drain the noodles - they should be softened by now.
6. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the noodles to the hot pan and stir fry for a minute. Add the sauce and stir fry for another minute or two, until the sauce is starting to thicken and stick to the noodles. Push the noodles aside to make a little room for the egg. Crack egg into the pan and scramble until mostly cooked. Mix noodles and egg. The egg mixture will stick to the noodles and everything will start getting sticky.
7. Add in the vegetables and spring onion and stir briefly. Remove from heat and stir in the peanuts and herbs.

Serves 4
Recipe: Kaycee Simuong - One of our Summer Interns

Onion Tart With Balsamic Tomatoes

Ingredients
40ml olive oil
4-6 onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
6 anchovies (optional)
8 Roma tomatoes cut lengthwise
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp finely chopped thyme leaves
2 tbsp creme fraiche
Pastry
285g plain flour
170g cold unsalted butter, cubed
7g pack of fast-action dried yeast
2 eggs, beaten

Method
1. To make the pastry, rub the flour and butter together with your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the yeast and a pinch of salt, then make a well in the centre, pour in the eggs, and work the mix with your hands until it comes together in a dough. Put it in a floured bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
2. Place tomatoes on a lined baking tray. Brush with balsamic vinegar and bake in a slow oven, 150°C, for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, make the filling. Heat the oil in a pan over a low heat, then add the onion, garlic, anchovies and thyme. Gently fry for 20 minutes, or until the onions are soft, then take it off the heat and stir through the crème fraîche. Set aside.
4. Increase the oven temperature to 200C. Press the dough into a 22cm x 30cm tray, pour in the onion filling and leave to rise for 15 minutes.  Top with tomatoes and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 180C and cook for a further 10-15 minutes. If the tomatoes look like they are starting to burn, cover with foil. Serve warm.

Recipe adapted from one from Margot Henderson

Vegetable Soup with Quinoa and Nettles

Quinoa, a grain like seed is a complete protein, unlike rice or beans. It is also gluten free. It is the best source for a plant based protein and being high in fiber and iron it should have a place in every vegetarian kitchen. Sopa de quinoa is a staple soup in Peru.  The Andes is where this grain thrives.  Quinoa is cooked with potatoes, onions and garlic in lard or oil and flavored with native oregano and annatto seeds. Whatever vegetables or greens are at hand are added to the soup. The soups I had ranged from a clear pale yellow soup to a thick creamy one, chock full of vegetables and greens.It usually served with an aji made from chili peppers.  You can take one slice from a chili and float it in your bowl of soup until you have the desired heat you like.

Ingredients 8 cups (2 liters) of vegetable or chicken stock 1/2 cup quinoa, well rinsed 1 cup carrots, quartered and sliced 1 cup pumpkin, peeled and cubed 1 cup onion, finely chopped 1/2 cup celery, chopped 1 cup potatoes, cubed salt (to taste) 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley 1cup minced nettle

Method 1. Combine carrots, onions and celery in a heavy bottomed soup pot with a splash of olive oil.  Gently fry until the onion is translucent. 2. Add pumpkin, potato, quinoa and stock.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender and the quinoa has "split", the curly tails have removed, about 10-15 minutes. 3. Adjust the seasoning with additional salt, if necessary and add the fresh herbs. Cook 2 more minutes, then remove from the heat.

Black Beans

Black beans, or turtle beans as they are also known, are a staple from Cuba to Mexico and down into South America. Black beans are full of iron and really easy to cook.  I have been able to find the raw ones in health food stores here on the peninsula.  I have also found organic tinned ones at the IGA. Black beans are very versatile - lovely in a burrito, as a dip with chips and salsa, as the bean in chili con carne and just with a side of saffron rice- and they freeze well, too!  Because I soak the raw beans with vegetables and spices, they have more flavour.  I also add a piece of seaweed adding nutrients to this already nutritious protein.  If you prefer to use tinned ones, skip to #5

Ingredients
2 cups uncooked black beans (or use 2 tins of precooked)
2 medium to large red onions
1-2 capsicums - green or coloured depending on your preference
8 large garlic cloves
1 chili pepper
6 bay leaves
Olive oil for frying the onions, peppers and garlic
1 large tablespoon tomato paste
3-5 medium size tomatoes
1 tbsp cumin seeds toasted and then ground
zest from one lime
coriander leaves and stems
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method
1.  SOAKING OF THE BEANS Clean and rinse the beans several times looking for any little pebbles. Place in a stock pot with 1 onion cut into quarters, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 4 peeled garlic cloves, 3 bay leaves, large piece of Kombu seaweed.
2.  Fill the pot with water about 1 inch above the bean line, cover and soak overnight for at least 12 hours….
3. In the morning,  check the bean water line- water has been absorbed, add more, at least 1-inch above the bean line.  Bring to a high boil for about 5minutes, stir and reduce to low heat.
4.  Cook uncovered for about 1 1/2 hours.  Stir and keep checking water line and bean tenderness.  You want a bean that is tender, not mushy. You can take veggies out and puree them with the bean water and add it back in if you want a wetter bean.  For burritos, I like to drain the beans in a colander.
5. Meanwhile in a large fry pan, heat oil.  Add 3 bay leaves, 4 garlic cloves pressed, 1 large onion finely diced, 1 capsicum finely diced, chilies finely diced (optional).  Continually stir until onion is translucent.
6.  Toast cumin seeds until they start jumping and brown slightly.  Grind in a mortar and pestle.
7.  Add cumin and tomato paste to the frying pan.  Then cut your tomatoes in half vertically and grate them into the frying pan too.  After a few minutes, add the beans.
8. Taste and adjust seasoning adding salt, pepper, lime juice, tomato paste.  The cumin should not be over powering.
9.  Just before serving top with minced coriander and the zest from one lime.

For Burritos
1. Take a tortilla.  layer black beans, avocado, salsa, rice, grated cheese and a bit of mixed lettuce and roll.
2. You can add a side of sour cream and/or make the avocado into guacamole!
 

Tomato Salsa

This is wonderfully fresh on corn chips or with black bean burritos. You can also make it when you have a glut of tomatoes and preserve for the winter.  This is a very quick recipe that involves no peeling of tomatoes. 
Ingredients
3 tomatoes
1/4 capsicum - coloured or green
1/2 red onion
2 fresh garlic cloves
1/4 bunch coriander - mince the leaves and stems
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method
1. Finely dice the onion,  capsicum, garlic cloves and optional chili pepper and put into a bowl. 
2. Roughly chop tomatoes. 
3. Add to bowl with olive oil and blend being careful to keep it a bit chunky.
4. Add lime juice and mix through.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Depending on your tomatoes, you may need a pinch of sugar too.
6.  Add coriander.

Green Beans, Peas, Pink Grapefruit and Coriander

This salad was made for us for dinner by my daughter and her grandmother and then made again the next day for lunch by my daughter by herself!!  She liked it so much she wrote down the recipe and asked to use the last of the bean harvest to make it for Sunday lunch.  Food made by other people does always taste great...delicious food made by a nine year old taste absolutely terrific!!!

She did not write down any amounts...but just mixed and tasted and did everything else by eye.  She left the chilies to me to add to my plate.

Ingredients Green Beans Snow Peas or Sugar Snaps Pink Grapefruit, peeled and sectioned Spring onion, cut or a little bit of red onion, diced small Coriander, ripped coarsley Cashews, toasted Chilies, diced finely - optional Dressing Juice of a whole lime or two couple of spoonfuls of dark brown sugar couple of shakes of fish sauce

Method 1. Steam or blanch the green beans and the peas. Cool in ice water. 2. Add to the grapefruit, onions and coriander. 3. Toss with dressing. 4. Serve alone or on top of mixed greens.

Pumpkin and Autumn Green Cannelloni

IngredientsOlive oil 750g pumpkin, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces 1 large red onion, halved, cut into thin wedges 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves 250g spinach, baby silver beet or nettle (I use a combination), lightly wilted 300g fresh low-fat ricotta Sprinkle of nutmeg 1 x 400ml tomato passata 1 tbs chopped fresh basil 2 garlic cloves, crushed 4 fresh lasagna sheets

Method 1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a shallow ovenproof baking dish. 2. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Place the pumpkin and onion, in a single layer, on the lined tray. Spray lightly with olive oil spray. Sprinkle with thyme and season with pepper. Bake in oven for 40 minutes or until the pumpkin is golden and tender. Set aside to cool slightly. 3. Wilt your greens. Place over a strainer and squeeze out any extra water. 4. Place the pumpkin mixture in a bowl and use a fork to coarsely mash. Add the wilted green and 250g of ricotta. Season with nutmeg, pepper and salt. Mix until well combined. 5. Combine the tomato passata, basil and garlic in a medium bowl. 6. Cut each lasagna sheet in half. Spoon 1/3 cup of the pumpkin mixture along the centre of each sheet. Fold the sheet over to enclose filling. Spread 80ml (1/3 cup) of the tomato mixture over the base of the prepared dish. Place the cannelloni in a single layer in the dish. 7. Pour the remaining tomato mixture over the cannelloni. Season with pepper. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until bubbling. Set aside for 5 minutes to stand.

Delicious Hearty Pumpkin Soup

This recipe comes from "A Spoonful of Country - Cooking from a Cootamundra Farmhouse" by Catherine Bragg Often 'starting-out cooks' don't have a large array of cooking equipment, especially essentials like food processors.  This is a good recipe for a wonderfully flavoured soup that doesn't need blending.

Ingredients butter 1 onion finely chopped 600g pumpkin, peeled and cut into small chunks 1/2 tsp sugar 1/2 cup soup mix (a mixture of lentils, chickpeas, barley, etc) 2 cups chicken stock 1 cup water 2 tsp tomato paste salt and pepper

Method 1. Melt a small knob of butter in a large saucepan.  Add onion and pumpkin, stir and cook for 5 minutes, then sprinkle in the sugar. 2.  Add the soup mix, stock and water, and bring to a boil. 3.  Simmer gently for about an hour until the vegetables and beans are tender. 4. Add tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste and mash the pumpkin pieces lightly with a fork, so it becomes a chunky hearty soup, adding a little extra stock or water if it becomes too thick. 5.  The soup is extra good with sippets, little squares of bread fried in oil and butter till crisp, sprinkled on the top.

 

Lentils, Monastery Style

This is a hearty soup which, when served with some corn bread, makes a complete meal!  It comes from my well loved copy of Frances Moore Lappe's  Diet for a Small Planet. Ingredients 1/4 cup olive oil 2 large onions 2 large garlic cloves 1 carrot, chopped 1/2 tsp thyme and marjoram 3 cups seasoned stock 1 cup brown or green lentils salt to taste 1/4 cup parsley, chopped 1 500g jar of tomatoes 2 cups chopped spinach or silver beet 1/4 cup dry sherry 2/3 cup grated Swiss cheese

Method 1.  Heat oil in a large pot and saute onions, garlic and carrots for 3 to 5 minutes. 2.  Add herbs and saute for another minute to release the flavours. 3. Add stock, lentils, salt and tomatoes and cook, covered until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes. 4. Add sherry, parsley and silver beet and continue to simmer until silver beet is tender. 5.  To serve, put 2 tbsps of cheese in each bowl and fill with soup.  Serve with corn bread or muffins.

Classic Greek Salad

The classic Greek salad - The taste is carried on the freshness of the vegetables and the flavour of the olives, feta and olive oil.  I still remember traveling through Greece consuming this salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner - using fresh bread to mop up the left over juice.
Ingredients
I whole tomato cut into 1/8's
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large cucumber, skin forked, quartered lengthwise, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 small red capsicum, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
100g Greek feta cheese, cut into cubes
1 1/2 tblsps olive oil
1 1/2 tblsps lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves or use basil

Method
1. Place oil, lemon juice, garlic and oregano in a screw-top jar. Season with salt and pepper. Secure lid. Shake to combine.
2. Combine tomato, cucumber, onion, capsicum and olives in a large bowl. Top with feta. Drizzle with oil mixture. Serve.

Spanish Truita (potato omelete)

Ingredients
4 eggs
3 potatoes
1 onion
salt/ cracked white pepper
olive oil
butter
optional: capsicum, zucchini, chilies, chiorizo

Method
1. First peel the potatoes and cut it into 1 cm thick slices slices. Do the same for the onion.
2.  Heat a non-stick fry pan over medium heat.  Add tsp olive oil, tbsp butter and onion.  Fry onion until it is translucent and it starts to caramelise.  Taking the time to do this step gives this dish a delicious depth of flavour from such simple ingredients.
3. Turn the heat to high.  Add the potatoes and enough boiling water to just cover them.  Simmer.
4.  While potatoes cook, break the eggs into a bowl and whisk gently.  Add salt and cracked white pepper.
5. As the water evaporates, test that the potatoes are tender.  If they are, pour off the remaining water, taking care to not pour out the onions and potatoes.
6.  If no oil remains in the pan, add a little.  Turn the heat down to medium and add egg.  Take care that the omelet does not stick to the fry pan by gently easing it off the sides with a plastic scraper or spatula.   Lean the saucepan back and forward while you separate it from the border. Egg will reach homogeneously all the omelet if you do it this way.
7. Once you think it is done (take less than 5 minutes), flip it, and shove it back in the frying pan in order to cook the other side. To flip it, use a plate or lid the same size as the fry pan.  Tip the pan over holding the lid on so that the omelet falls onto the lid.  Then gently push the upside down omelet back into the pan to cook the top. The most difficult part is flipping it, so be sure the frying pan is not too heavy and you have the right dish or lid and it is not slippery. I would recommend to check it beforehand. That is a clue step!

Here is a video I found in internet that shows the flip. Skip ahead about 3 minutes.

 

Mineral Rich Chicken Stock

If you make stock, you know that nurturing smell which permeates each corner of a home as it slowly simmers through the night.  If you have never made a stock, you have to try...just once at least...get your biggest pot (or borrow a big one from your mother) and clean out your vegetable drawer.  Add some bony chicken parts and let it simmer. In our house, I find the smell of a good stock simmering all night is enough to make an ailing child turn the corner.  Whenever the heat of summer subsides, we have a stock pot on.  By winter, our freezer has extra stock frozen, but we still make stock as the weather cools, and all winter long.  We use stock in soups, stews, pasta dishes, risottos, and stir fries.  I believe that the stock made from nutrient dense vegetables and herbs, consolidates their essential nutrients into a rich, spoon licking, brew which re-mineralizes the body and the spirit!

Ingredients Organic bony chicken parts - Carcass(es) (cooked or uncooked), necks, wings or  legs 1 onion, chopped into ¼ inch squares 8 branches parsley (not the leafy tops) 2 bay leaves Several large branches of thyme (or whatever you have leftover from the week) 2 medium carrots, diced 4 celery stalks and leaves, roughly chopped Leek tops Onion tops any tomatoes, beans and zucchini left in the vegetable drawer 8 whole cloves 8 whole peppercorns 2 liters cold water or enough to float all the items Leafy tops of parsley

Method 1.    Place chicken parts in cold water and bring to boil.  Skim the foam that forms. 2.    Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for hours or even overnight. The longer you simmer the stock, the more flavourful it will be. 3.    In the last 10 minutes of the stock simmering, add the leafy parsley to add extra minerals. 4.    Strain the stock.  You can reduce it further to intensify the flavour. 5.    Refrigerate and then skim any fat from the surface. 6.    Freeze in jars or use within a week.

For more great information about stocks, check out Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

We have written more about Thyme and its great attributes.

Celery Gratin

Ingredients
1 celery head, trimmed
25g butter
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
100g breadcrumbs
50g walnuts, roughly chopped
40ml white wine
100ml vegetable or chicken stock
100ml double cream
30g grated Parmesan or Gruyere

Method
1.  Cut any thick celery stalks in half, trim all of it into thumb-size lengths, then wash and leave wet. Melt half the butter in a large frying pan, then add the celery, onion and bay leaves. Season, cover, then cook over a medium heat for about 30 mins, stirring occasionally to stop the onions catching.
2.  Meanwhile, prepare the breadcrumbs. Melt the remaining butter in a separate pan, then toss in the crumbs and walnuts, stirring often until lightly golden and toasted. Set aside.
3.  Heat grill to medium. When the celery is tender, turn the heat right up, pour in the wine and stock, then reduce by two-thirds. Pour in the cream, then reduce for a final few mins until you have a syrupy sauce. Check seasoning, tip into an ovenproof dish, then scatter with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Grill for 2-3 mins, until the sauce bubbles. Let it sit for 5 mins before serving.

Herby, Peanutty Noodly Salad

A bright and zingy dressing, handfuls of herbs and crunchy peanuts pack loads of flavour into simple, easy-to-cook noodles. Taken from the River Cottage Veg Every Day! cook book and featured in the TV series. Check out the River Cottage website for more recipes. Prep Time 10-15min Cook Time 10-15 min

Ingredients
150g Thai rice noodles
150g French beans
2 Large handfuls of peanuts
2 tbs Rice wine vinegar
1 tsp Soy sauce
1 tsp Sesame oil
1 Lime, juice and zest
1 clove garlic, grated
½ Red chilli, finely chopped
1 small cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
4 Spring onions, sliced
1 ½ tbs each of Mint, coriander and basil

Method
1.  Cook the noodles and beans in boiling water for about three minutes or until noodles are cooked and beans still have some crunch.
2.  Drain in a colander and refresh under cold running water.
3.  Roast the peanuts in the oven for 8 minutes or until golden.
4.  Put the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice and zest, garlic and chilli in a large bowl and give everything a good whisk.
5.  Add the drained noodles and beans to the bowl and give everything a good stir to ensure everything is evenly coated.
6.  Add the cucumber and spring onions to noodles and toss.
7.  Add the chopped herbs and give another good stir.
8.  Crush the peanuts with the back of a spoon.
9.  Plate the noodle salad and sprinkle with the toasted nuts.

Tatsoi and Cabbage Stir Fry

This is a versatile stir fry that you can make with any vegetables.  I add in broccoli, zucchini and red peppers when we have them.  The carrots replace the red peppers in the winter and spring adding the sweet counterpart to the whole flavour of the stir fry.  Tatsoi is a delicate green.  I chop the stems into pieces and add them with the cabbage. But the tops, I leave whole and add right before serving so that they are only slightly braised.  I have included chicken in the recipe. This can be omitted. Ingredients olive oil 750 g chicken thigh fillets, cut into strips 2 egg whites, lightly beaten ½ cup cornflour 3 cloves garlic, chopped or put through a press 2 onions, thinly sliced or 1 large leek or a bunch of green onions 4 medium sized carrots and/or 1 red sweet capsicum, cut into match sticks 2 heads of Tatsoi, remove tops and set aside, dice stems into 1 cm pieces 1/2 head of cabbage, cored and thinly sliced 2 tbsp soy sauce 2 tbsp sherry 1 tbsp oyster sauce 2 tbsp sesame seeds

 

Method 1. Heat the wok until very hot, add 1 tbsp of the oil and swirl to coat the side. Dip a quarter of the chicken strips into the egg white and then into the cornflour. Add to the wok and stir-fry for 3-5 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown and just cooked. Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining chicken, reheating the wok and adding a little more oil each time. 2. Reheat the wok, add 1 tbsp of the oil and stir-fry the onion, carrot and/or capsicum and garlic over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened slightly. If using green onions, wait and add with the cabbage.  Add cabbage and tatsoi stems, continuing to stir. Increase the heat to high and add the soy sauce, sherry and oyster sauce. Toss the vegetables well. If you like more sauce, just add soy, sherry and oyster sauce (double the amount of soy and sherry to the amount of oyster sauce). 3. Return the chicken to the wok and toss over high heat for 1-2 minutes to heat the chicken and make sure it is entirely cooked through. Add sesame seeds. Toss the Tatsoi leaves through the chicken mixture, and serve immediately over rice or udon noodles.

Mango Salsa

This is a great seasonal salsa, perfect on its own with chips but also wonderful with fish and chicken!  Even though mangoes are not a local fruit, they are so delicious and so abundant in December when the spring coriander is just ready to bolt, we enjoy their season. With chicken, we make chicken cutlets, bread them and lightly fry them in olive oil.  I then put them into a baking dish, cover about 1/4 inch with white wine, and layer the mango salsa over the top.  bake in a 180 for about 25 minutes (until the chicken is cooked through) and then turn up the heat to 230 for about five minutes to caramelize the salsa.

Ingredients 2 mangoes bunch of coriander juice of one lime 1 or 2 cloves of garlic 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 or 2 chillies salt Optional Green onions Chives

Method 1. Dice the chillies leaving the seeds if you like your salsa hot.  Mash the garlic with a press.  Put chillies and garlic into the salsa bowl with the lime juice, olive oil and salt. 2.  Cut the cheeks off the mangoes.  Remove skin and cut into 2 cm chunks.  Cut the remainder of the mango flesh from the pit.  Combine with the chillies. 3. Roughly chop coriander.  Combine with other ingredients and taste to correct seasoning.  You can add chives and or green onions depending on your personal preference.

Crunchy Salad

Here is a recipe adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe...which he prefaces by saying that it is a very adaptable salad..."One of the things I love about a good crunchy salad is that you can simply change it according to where you live  and what fresh ingredients are available to you."  So have a go at inventing your own crunchy salad - be inventive with how you slice, chop, shave your ingredients.  Explore texture and flavours and revel in a truly seasonal compliment to any meal! Ingredients 1 cucumber 1 red onion, peeled and shaved 3 small carrots 1 fennel bulbs outer leaves peeled back, quartered lengthways 1 zucchini ribbon sliced 6 radishes, quartered 1 tbsp white wine vinegar 1 heaped tsp castor sugar 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil small bunch of fresh dill or thyme small bunch of flat leaf parsley finely chopped

Method 1. Chop, shred  and/or ribbon slice all of your vegetables. 2. Mix olive oil, vinegar and castor sugar in a small jar.  Shake until well blended. 3. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix by hand with the herbs.  Serve.

Photo credit and recipe suggestion - Emma Travers

Spinach, Herb and Goat's Cheese Tartlets

Other greens such as silver beet, nettles, and/or rocket also work well in a recipe like this.
Ingredients
30g butter 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 large onions, thinly sliced 1 garlic clove, crushed 2 eggs ¼ cup cream
2-3 cups fresh spinach leaves 2 teaspoons lemon thyme 120g goat's cheese, crumbled  (For beautiful local goat's cheese, try Main Ridge Dairy)
Shortcrust Pastry
1 cup plain flour
125g cold butter, chopped
2 tablespoons chilled water
Method
1.  Preheat oven to hot, 200°C. Lightly grease 4 x 10cm tart cases.
2.  In a large frying pan, heat butter and oil together on high. Saute onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes, until caramelised. Set aside.
3. Shortcrust Pastry: Combine flour and butter in a food processor. Pulse until crumbs form. With motor running, gradually add water, until mixture comes together around blade. Remove, and form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.  OR you can rub the butter through the flour with your hands until the flour forms into crumbs and hand mix in the water.
4.  Roll out pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper until 3mm thick. Using a 14cm cutter, cut out 4 circles. Ease into pans, trimming edges. Arrange on baking tray and chill for 10 minutes.
5. Line cases with baking paper and dried beans. Bake blind for 10-12 minutes, until golden. Remove paper and beans. Bake, uncovered, for 4-5 minutes. Reduce oven to moderate, 180°C.
6. In a fry pan over medium heat in a bit of butter, carmelise the onion.  Then add the spinach and gently wilt.
7.  In a large jug, whisk together eggs, cream and thyme. Season to taste. Divide onion and spinach between cases. Pour egg mixture over and top each with goat's cheese. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until just set.

 

Aunt Bee's Bread and Butter Pickles

Bread and Butter PicklesIngredients3 litres of thinly sliced cucumbers 1 litre thinly sliced red onion ¼ cup canning salt Brine 3 cups white vinegar 3 cups white sugar 3 tsp mustard seed 3 tsp celery seed 1 tsp turmeric

Method 1. Place the cucumbers, onions and salt in ice for at least three hours – preferably over night. Afterwards, drain and rinse and drain and rinse. Otherwise the pickles are too salty 2. Boil gently for 5 minutes the following: vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed and turmeric. 3. Add cucumbers and onions leaving them in long enough to lose their colour, turning yellow. 4. Place in jars (makes about 6 size 20 fowlers jars) and process as per your preserving units recommendation.

Bok Choy, Broccolini and Chicken in a Spiced Sauce

Ingredients3cm piece fresh ginger, julienned 4 boneless chicken breasts ¾ cup salt-reduced chicken stock ¼ cup Mirin or dry cooking sherry ¼ cup tamari or soy sauce 1 tbsp brown sugar 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces 2-3 star anise 3 spring onions, sliced into 1/2 cm rounds 2 carrots julienned 1 bunch broccolini, trimmed and halved 1 bunch baby bok choy, trimmed

Method 1. Slice chicken breasts into 1/2 cm thick pieces.  Cut these in half to reduce their length. Mix stock, wine, soy sauce, brown sugar, cinnamon and star anise and marinade chicken for 10 minutes to 24 hours. 2. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan, add ginger and garlic and cook for 30 sec. Skim chicken from marinade and brown on all sides for 3-4 min.  Remove chicken, transfer to a plate and keep warm. 4. Add spring onions and carrots and stir-fry until onions soften. Add marinade. Bring to the boil. 5. Add broccolini. Cook, uncovered, for 5 min or until vegetables are tender and sauce has reduced slightly. Pour this over chicken. 6. Return pan to heat and add bok choy. Cook until wilted.  Top chicken, vegetables and sauce with bok choy. Serve with steamed rice.